Huffpost Latino Voices

Jennifer Lopez Sends A Message To Latinos After Historic Billboard Moment (VIDEO)

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It was a night of firsts for J.Lo.

During the live broadcast of Sunday night’s Billboard Music Awards, the Nuyorican star gave a sensual performance of her new single “First Love” just before becoming the first woman and Latina to receive the BBMAs Icon Award.

Lopez joined forces with Pitbull and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte to open up the three-hour event with their official World Cup song “We Are One (Ole Ola).” Later on in the night, Lopez returned to the stage to perform her new song off her upcoming tenth studio album.

J. Lo’s performance of “First Love” had the audience on their feet as the singer single-handedly commanded the stage with a glittering black bodysuit. Shortly after, Ricky Martin and Iggy Azalea appeared to present the Bronx native with the Icon Award.

With her mother watching in the crowd, Lopez accepted the award and thanked her producers, family, friends, fans and many more. Towards the end of her speech, the “On The Floor” singer also addressed the Latino community in Spanish.

“To my people: work hard, dream big. A lot of faith, my people,” J.Lo said as the crowd’s cheers heightened.

The singer ended her acceptance speech with a message for the children that were tuned into the award show.

“Lastly, I just wanted to say all you little ones sitting on the living room floor watching the TV right now just like I used to do when I was back in the Bronx -- have faith, dream big, think big and know that anything is possible. You never know where you might end up,” Lopez added as she joined past "Icon" honorees Prince, Stevie Wonder and Neil Diamond.

It’s not the first time J.Lo looks back on her childhood in the Bronx. While accepting GLAAD’s Vanguard award last month, the singer described how Puerto Rican icon Rita Moreno’s role in “West Side Story” had inspired her.

"She changed my life," Lopez said in April. "Watching this beautiful, strong Puerto Rican woman command a screen with her talent in a time when Latina women did not have every door in this industry open to them made me feel as a little girl, watching in her living room in the Bronx, that anything was possible. Anything. Thank you for that."

For the first time in her musical career, the star will be performing in the Bronx in June as part of State Farms Neighborhood sessions. General Admission tickets were free for residents and all proceeds from the family event will go to community-based organizations.

Check out J.Lo, Shakira and more stars on the BBMA red carpet below.

Billboard Music Awards 2014 Red Carpet
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